Flood Recovery Continues In Council Bluffs

Liz Dorland

Flood Recovery Continues In Council Bluffs

CREATED Oct. 22, 2012

Council Bluffs, IA -- The devastating 2011 Missouri River flooding wiped out homes in Council Bluffs. On Monday night the city council moved forward on efforts to buy some of those homes and make those families whole.

They're pictures many won't soon forget.  Homes on Gifford Road that were taken by Pottawattamie County Emergency workers August of 2011.  Mayor Tom Hanafan was one of the few who got a first hand account of just how badly they were damaged.  The Mayor explained, "Those homes were under water, you know 6 to8-feet up in the air. They were totally unprotected and molded they're totally destroyed."

Council Bluffs City Council voted unanimously in to use tax money to buy three of those homes.
"They're unlivable and they can't be rebuilt because they're on the unprotected side of the levee so FEMA came-in with their rules and regulations so they can't live there," added Mayor Hanafan.

Council members say the goal by purchasing the homes is to keep people safe. Councilwoman Lynne Branigan says, "To reduce the dilapidated properties, risk of vandal, people getting hurt it's best just to clear the properties."

High water also damaged the city's sewer system too. City leaders voted on two measures to repair those damages. It's just the start on a long road to recovery.  Mayor Hanafan added the city will also work on the levee system. "We've got 28.5 miles of levee and we're going to have to get back do some things on that. We've got some pumps stations that need to be worked on. I think we're going to spend 40 to 50-million in the next 5-years to protect the city," Hanafan says.

The City of Council Bluffs expects to purchase about 20 homes that were destroyed. The exact cost for taxpayers is up in the air.  The city must negotiate a selling price with those former home owners before writing a check.  City leaders say FEMA will only pay a percentage of the final bill to purchase the damaged homes.

Reported By: Liz Dorland, ldorland@action3news.com